I’ve been a little quiet on this Blog since starting back on my final year doing a BA Creative Practice (Photography).
Over the summer, in fact over the last year a number of changes in my life have resulted in my path taking a slightly different direction than I originally thought. My path over the summer turned to end of life, particularly the practices and rituals around death, dying and bereavement. I’ve also been blessed with meeting some truly wonderful, wonderful people who have signposted this path. Whether it be the balance between heartache and heartwarming or just listening to my ‘bliss’ in each moment. Suddenly the images I am producing start to make more sense. As a good friend would put it “I am in the flow”.
So let me introduce you a little into my work these last few months and some of the people that have influenced me.
Rocky, I simply must start with Rocky, a true Yorkshire Cowgirl. Rocky lives on her ranch between Barnsley and Holmfirth. When I say ranch, I mean Ranch with a capital R. A wood built log cabin, overlooking hills, moorland and fields, with a nearby Pennine Trail that she rides her four horses along and to a nearby reservoir.
The day I met her, she was on the trail with friend Sue. They climbed off their horses and strode into the cafe where I was sat. I knew immediately I wanted to photograph them. The day of the photographs was terrible weather, but I persevered and they did too, In hindsight it was this patience that led to one of my favourite images, of all the images I have ever taken. Two of these images were produced in the Times along with Rocky’s story as a direct result of that photoshoot.
Then there is Ria, beautiful, beautiful Ria. I came across Ria on a website called Helpful Peeps. She offered to sit for a portrait but I learned much more about her than just these pictures. Ria’s son Gareth died earlier this year. Our conversation turned to grief, plans, not making plans and how life continues despite such heartbreaking tragedy. I asked Ria to recount funny stories of Gareth as we took these images. At a later shoot we held a memorial with two close friends of Ria’s on Cleethorpes beach. The following week Ria was due to attend an inquest detailing the cause of her son’s death. The sunset was blazen pink that evening in Cleethorpes. A mothers love and deep distress was crystal clear, even through the smiles.